(All of the pictures below were taken with Jag’s iPhone, hence the worse-than-usual quality.)
1.) A quick breakfast, then a trip to the Hillsborough Farmers Market to stock up on soap and ground bison and local sausages and say hello to friends.
2.) Home for lunch, and then out to Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area for a hike. This was a new park for us, so we were quite excited. We marched expectantly up the Summit Trail (which is a horrible gravel road, not really a trail), eager to see the “the highest point in Orange County at 867 feet”. Well, it turns out that the summit consists of a cell phone tower and an old forest ranger fire watchtower, and you can’t see a damn thing. So back we went down the hill to the Overlook Trail, which we surmised would have something to look at, given the name. Once again we were to be disappointed.
No overlook. Denied.
The view is probably pretty, but we didn’t feel like plunging to our deaths, so this is the best shot we got.
So. We trudged back down and decided to hook up with the long end of the Occoneechee Mountain Loop Trail. Things were looking pretty bad at this point, what with the trail going right under some high-tension wires…
And some really sketchy descents on poorly maintained winding uneven steps full of ankle-snapping gravel and stone chips.
Then we got lost and ended up on a feeble, overgrown semi-trail that ran along the Eno River and could have used a machete or 3. Luckily, we heard voices at this point, and we encountered Nice Man and his Family, who were walking along the Actual Trail. Nice Man asked us if this was our first time in the park (he must’ve been psychic! Or heard me cussing a blue streak in the weeds!), pointed out that there was a really awesome quarry about 50 yards back the way they had just been, and informed me that my credit card was about to fall out of my back pocket. So all in all, a most fortuitous meeting. Thanks, Nice Man!
The quarry was most impressive; this is the view of the Forbidden Collapsing Overlook from the ground.
The quarry is many, many Jags high.
After exploring a bit, we headed back onto the Genuine Trail and were blown away by how nice it was. The trail next to the river is shady and lovely and full of ferns and flowers, with plenty of places to sit on the bank and look out at the peaceful waters. These views alone made the trip worthwhile.
The trail winds back around the side of the mountain through some woods that were really lovely and must be totally spectacular in the fall. So, what seemed to be a total bust and waste of time turned out to be really great! The end of the trail is uncomfortably close to I-85, but oh well.
3.) We came back home (by way of the Hillsborough Mapleview Farm store for ice cream), showered (finally!), and then headed out for dinner.
No, there is no such thing as “too much” salmon.
4.) …And then came home to discover that the AC is dead and we probably won’t see a repairman til Monday at the earliest. Ceiling fans ahoy! At least it won’t get any warmer than 85 or so.